I depended on my imagination as a boy because all the neighbourhood kids weren’t allowed to play with the naughty kid. Luckily I inherited my father’s ability to paint, which later kept me buried in my sketchbooks, comics and the cinemas in Chinatown. 


Eventually when I really got to know film, it was by writing it and making it. Photography is an entirely natural extension for me from storytelling. So even before I was photographing I saw visuals, and later when I picked up a camera, I was able to capture it. 


Being self-taught, I didn’t have teachers or theory telling me not to try certain things. So as I’ve done in life, I did in art. I went places that maybe I shouldn’t have gone. Seen some things I cannot un-see. And did things that can’t be undone. A curriculum and a teacher like no other. 


My writing comes from places where I’ve dwelled and narrowly escaped, and what keeps me going is the meaning of it all. And the same can be said about my images, which is probably why I prefer uncontrollable light that doesn’t require a voltage. 


No matter how ugly or attractive a story or image is, as long as it says something, it’ll have meaning and you won’t be able to think that it’s not there… Giving you an experience and changing you without your permission. 


An unblinking image. A brutally honest fable. The stuff of legends even before it dies. If I can create that for the rest of my time, then I’ll live to be a thousand and one. 

© 2015 by John Ma. Sydney, Australia.

  • Facebook Clean
  • Instagram Clean
  • White YouTube Icon
  • White Vimeo Icon
  • Flickr Clean